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Excitement was in the air on Thursday as students returned to school in the East Greenbush Central School District. They bounded off school buses, hugged their friends and waved to favorite teachers on their way into school.

It was an early start, as always, for the Transportation Department. Bus drivers and mechanics arrived at 5:30 a.m. to do their pre-route inspections and News10 was there to cover it.

Transportation Supervisor MaryAnn Belmont spoke with reporter Samantha DiMascio (a Columbia High School alumna) about the new school year, how the drivers prepare by practicing their bus routes and calling parents of kindergarten students ahead of time, and introduced Operation Red Lights, an initiative to stop motorists from illegally passing school buses.

News10 also visited Howard L. Goff Middle School to speak with new Principal Jill Barker, Teachers Debreen Oliva and John Cirincione, the new school resource officer Deputy Jeff Russo and Superintendent Jeff Simons (watch News10 story below).

“Opening Day is a celebration,” Mr. Simons said, “and we’re really happy to look forward to a wonderful school year.”

Check out some other scenes from the first day of school!